El Cajon limits park-feeding of homeless people: California, USA

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 4 Jun 1999 05:45:20 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  [California, USA] San Diego Union-Tribune [Metro] - May 26, 1999


     By Michael Stetz - Union-Tribune Staff Writer

EL CAJON -- Despite pleas again from the homeless here, the City Council
yesterday reaffirmed a move that would block a local pastor from feeding
the poor on a weekly basis in a public park. The vote again was 3-2, with
Councilmen Richard Ramos, Charles Santos and Todd Keegan upholding their
earlier stances to limit such feedings to twice every 90 days.

Mayor Mark Lewis and Councilman Bob McClellan voted against it.

The new law would probably take effect sometime this summer. It doesn't
appear that any council members will change their minds when the issue goes
through two more routine votes.

The homeless had hoped that increasing publicity would sway the council.

"This is a life-and-death issue," said Fred Blanchard, 43, a
homeless man who rode his bike to yesterday's meeting.

Instead, under the law, Pastor Larry Deason of Foothills Bible Fellowship
will be forced to curtail his public ministry to the homeless.

For more than two years, he has held weekly spiritual talks, capped by the
distribution of hamburgers and hot dogs, in Wells Park to a small group of
the homeless.

Supporters say other organizations have volunteered to step in and fill in
the gaps.

Keegan, who says he is simply against using Wells Park as a site for
feeding the homeless, agreed to participate in a task force to look into
the homeless problem in El Cajon.


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